E-Lines: May 07, 2021
May 7, 2021
MEC Officer Letter: Flight Attendant Negotiations Supplemental Survey
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Over the past year, our Negotiating Committee has been working to tabulate the data from the Negotiations Survey we conducted last year, in order to identify our negotiating priorities. As you may recall, in early 2020, to coincide with the first survey, our Negotiating Committee conducted a systemwide Listening Tour visiting each base, to hear your priorities for our next round of contract negotiations.
To be sure we are most accurately capturing the priorities of our current Flight Attendant population, we will again conduct a survey to guide us in preparing for negotiations. By conducting this supplemental survey, we’ll ensure that the results, and thus our priorities, from the survey conducted in 2020 remain valid and guide us as we continue to prepare for negotiations.
This second survey will be conducted using random sampling methodology to ensure a statistically valid result. We used the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Survey Center to conduct the first survey in 2020, and we will again utilize the assistance of these outside professionals to administer this survey. Approximately 10,000 United Flight Attendants will be randomly selected by UNH to participate in this survey, which will open May 17 at 0800 CT with all survey responses due by May 31, 2021.
If you are selected to receive the survey, we encourage you to participate. This supplemental survey will build and refine our Opening Proposal for when we commence contract negotiations. If you are not selected to participate in this survey, rest assured there will be many more opportunities to continue providing feedback on your priorities and to participate in the negotiations process.
When we shifted our attention and focused our resources on navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic last Spring, you may recall, we temporarily suspended publication of our newsletter Negotiations News. In the coming weeks you can expect to see more communication from us as we prepare to relaunch Negotiations News.
If you are not currently subscribed, we encourage you to sign up to receive E-Lines and Negotiations News so you can remain engaged and informed as we continue preparing for, and ultimately commencing, contract negotiations. (view PDF)
The Officers of the United Master Executive Council
Supplemental Survey Explained
In early 2020, shortly after the Contract 2021 survey closed, our way of life, as we knew it changed. The COVID-19 pandemic created what may be the greatest single crisis that many of us have ever faced during the course of our career. With so much upheaval to our lives and careers, we want to ensure last year’s pre-COVID-19 survey data is accurate.
COVID-19 impacted every one of us, in one way or another. The changes we’ve all experienced this past year, may have impacted our perspective of contract priorities as well. The only way to ensure the validity of the first survey, is to conduct a supplemental survey.
Our first instinct was to survey the entire Membership again. When professional statisticians advised against another complete survey of all Flight Attendants, we needed to understand why. After multiple conversations with the professional statisticians and a crash course in statistical analysis, it made sense.
Our primary survey goal is to get the most accurate data possible, in order to guide the work of our Negotiating Committee. We cannot develop negotiating positions or proposals without knowing what elements of our contract Flight Attendants consider important to improve upon or change. This is why we conducted the survey everyone had the opportunity to participate in last year.
Having already given an opportunity to be surveyed to every single Flight Attendant on the seniority list last year, we want to ensure the results are still valid and representative of the collective Membership. Random Sampling Methodology was selected to achieve this objective. By utilizing random sampling, the experts agree that this method will yield more accurate results than another complete survey.
Although this may seem counter-intuitive, we run the risk of receiving survey results that are not statistically valid if we were to survey the entire population and received a low response rate. Among many reasons, a low response rate can happen, for example, when only people who feel very strongly about something complete the survey. Should that occur, the result is data from only one segment of the population, which is not always the majority opinion. This is what newspapers refer to as the “silent majority.” A low response rate can invalidate survey results, and in effect, render them unreliable. To be clear, reliability and accuracy of the data is our number one priority.
We were finally convinced that surveying a portion of our Flight Attendants, and not the entire seniority list, was the right approach. But how do we make sure that the Flight Attendants randomly selected represent the population?
This is the “random” part of the sample. Random is a mathematical term, in this context. To assure a sample that represents all of our views, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) will consider all of the different subsets of our Flight Attendant population including, but not limited to, age, gender, seniority and geographical location. Using proven methodology, they can ensure that whomever the computer randomly selects to receive the supplemental survey will be an accurate, and statically relevant, sample of our entire Flight Attendant population.
The Supplemental Survey will be mailed soon to the Flight Attendants who were selected by the statisticians in the random sampling. The survey will contain the same questions that were included in the survey last year. We urge ALL Flight Attendants who receive the Supplemental Survey to please respond. You are validating the data for all of us. The more Flight Attendants who take the time to complete the survey, the more accurate our information will be.
If you are not selected as part of the random sample, please know that your opinion and voice is still contained in the data from the original survey. That data is still being used; this second survey is simply to ensure the results of the first survey are still valid.
The voice of ALL United Flight Attendants is being heard. We are listening.
A few things to keep in mind:
- This supplemental survey consists of the same questions that were included in the first survey conducted in early 2020. This survey does not contain different questions.
- The supplemental survey is necessary for us to ensure the accuracy of the results from the first survey to ensure they remain valid.
- Survey results are used to determine our collective priorities and guide the Negotiating Committee through the process of writing the Opening Proposal. We need to ensure the results are still valid and conducting this supplemental survey, consisting of the same questions included in the original survey, will provide a first glimpse at where our priorities may have changed.
- Throughout the course of negotiations, you can expect more surveys to help our Negotiating Committee better define your priorities.
- Surveys are only one way we collect data. Listening tours, road shows, and feedback from your Local Council President are examples of different ways we gather your feedback and direction.
- Negotiations Support Activist “InfoReps” will also continue to gather feedback from Flight Attendants and ensure that information makes its way to the Negotiating Committee.
- Once the Negotiating Committee has presented our Union’s Opening Proposal to the company, a summary will be available for you to review. The Negotiating Committee will again travel to all bases to present you with our opening proposal, answer your questions and listen to your feedback.
New Reserve Functionality in CCS
Enhanced Reserve functionality available via CCS became effective on May 6, 2021.
The following is an overview of the two (2) items to ensure your familiarity with the new CCS functionality.
The newest functionality includes the “Ready Reserve Priority Message” where a CCS priority message (also known as an "acknowledgement screen") will now be sent to Flight Attendants who are assigned to Ready Reserve status for the next day during the 1930 assignment process.
Section 8.F.1. of our Contract provides "Reserves shall be able to receive and acknowledge assignments online." This includes assignments to a specific pairing (or Standby), the Ready Reserve list or Release (RLSD). Until now, programing limitations prevented priority messages from being sent for assignments to Ready Reserve status. This limitation has been addressed and these messages are now being generated by the system. Based on the addition of this new automation, Reserves should no longer "assume" they have been assigned to Ready Reserve if no priority message is received after 1930 HDT.
If a Reserve is unable to access their assignment after 1930, or the system malfunctions and, in this case, a priority message is not generated, the affected Reserve must call the crew desk for their next-day assignment, as required in Section 8.F.2. of our Contract.
Additional new functionality includes enhancements to the “Reserve Assigned Screen.” In addition to the Reserve assignments made during the 1930 process, AFA successfully advocated to have the ability for Reserves to access "real-time" Reserve assignment data accessible from the CCS Reserve Assigned screen.
With this update, Flight Attendants will now be able to see both sets of data by making one pf the desired selections:
- "Snapshot" Assignment Data: Reserve assignments as made during the 1930 process, or
- "Realtime" Assignment Data: Current Reserve assignments, reflective of any changes made after 1930.
EXAMPLE: A Flight Attendant is initially assigned to "Ready Reserve" at 1930 and is subsequently assigned to a pairing or Standby position.
- Snapshot data for this Flight Attendant will display "Ready Reserve".
- Realtime data for this Flight Attendant will display the specific pairing or Standby information.
Screen captures images of this functionality is available in the ISW article on this subject.
Updates to FLTLINE Telephone Numbers from International Locations
As a result of an internal carrier switch from Verizon to AT&T, there have been some FLTLINE changes affecting how we will call from international locations. These changes are effective immediately.
There have been no changes to the dial-in number for FLTLINE within the United States.
Access the new list of international dial-in numbers from the United MEC website.
System Transfers, Effective for July, Awarded Today
Transfers were awarded today.
2 Dutch LQ
2 Hebrew LQ
Those awarded transfers must accept the transfer award, prior to the acceptance deadline, in CCS in order for the transfer to be effective.
AFA Continues Advocacy for Worldwide Vaccine Access
Our efforts to help get the world vaccinated as soon as possible are working. AFA continues to advocate that airline travel cannot fully recover until the entire world has access to the COVID-19 vaccine. The first step in making that happen is to waive patent protections for the COVID-19 vaccine and President Biden agrees.
The Biden team said on Wednesday, that it backs waiving patent and other intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines to help expand production of the life-saving shots worldwide. India and South Africa first called for a broad waiver of all intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. The previous administration was in opposition to this measure, but the Biden team has reversed that position acting to make the vaccination as broadly available as possible.
The next step is for the U.S. to engage in detailed negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the scope of the waiver. Then, all members of WTO must unanimously agree to the waiver. Already the shift in the U.S.’ position on this issue has encouraged the European Union to consider signing on to the waiver.
If the WTO agrees to waive patent and other intellectual property protections, that will go a long way in ramping up vaccine production around the world. We need shots in the arms of the world so we can return to flying a full aircraft schedule and ultimately, profitability.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Since 1949, May has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month. One in five American adults experiences some form of mental illness in any given year. And across the population, one in every twenty adults are living with a serious mental health condition such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or long-term recurring major depression. If you have a mental health condition, you are not alone
Unfortunately, many people either do not seek treatment or remain unaware that certain symptoms could be connected to a mental health condition. Distinguishing between expected behaviors and others that might be the sign of a mental illness isn't always easy and many of us lack the professional skill set to know the difference.
(Read our full article on May is Mental Health Awareness Month)
Mental Illness can present in several different forms and illnesses. Each illness has its own symptoms, but there are some common signs of mental illness that present in adults and adolescents. Some of these symptoms are as follow:
- Excessive worrying or fear
- Feeling excessively sad or low
- Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
- Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
- Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
- Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
- Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
- Changes in sex drive
- Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don't exist in objective reality)
- Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (” lack of insight” or anosognosia)
- Overuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
- Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
- Thinking about suicide
- Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
- An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance
If you are concerned about any of these signs either in yourself, a loved one or a flying partner, please reach out to your AFA EAP Committee for confidential peer support and assistance. Call 1-800-424-2406 or locate your Local Council AFA EAP Committee members at using this resource.
Group Universal Life (GUL) Premiums Associated with 9/2020 Contractual Wage Increase
We are learning there was an unexpected delay in applying the contractual wage increases that became effective in September of 2020 and that would have affected the GUL benefit as of January 1, 2021 (as provided for in Section 29.G.1.c.) based on how a Flight Attendant’s monthly salary is determined for this purpose.
Any claims filed during the period from January 1, 2021 – June 1, 2021 will be paid as if the higher pay rate had been applied in determining the benefit to which the survivors were entitled. At the same time, premiums paid from January 1, 2021 through May 31, 2021 will not be affected and will remain unchanged.
Premiums associated with the benefit increase resulting from the September 2020 salary increases will become effective as of June 1, 2021 for all future months for the same level of coverage.
If you have questions, please contact your Local Benefits Committee for assistance.
Mother’s Day is May 9th
On Sunday May 9, we celebrate our Mothers, Step-Mothers, Grandmothers and many other influential women in our lives. As a profession largely comprised of women, many of whom are mothers and all of whom are daughters, the day is a recognition of how these incredible women have shaped our lives.
Some of us may have had a close relationship with our mother, while others may have lost or never known our mothers, and yet some mothers may have tragically lost a child. Each of us has our own unique experience and memories of what this day signifies, but the spirit of motherhood resides within each of us. And we can all find that gratitude in our heart for the person who gave us life and set us on the path we follow today.
For those who are not mothers, we recognize the many strong women who are a part of our history at United and throughout the labor industry, all working hard to improve the quality of life, not just for women, but for all of us. On Sunday, we suggest you reflect on your own personal way to celebrate Mother’s Day, and share that spirit with all the women in your life. On behalf of the entire United Master Executive Council, we wish all of our mothers a Happy Mother’s Day.
Special COLA Awards from the Waitlist for June – 8:00AM CT May 14, 2021
Keep in mind that Special COLAs will be awarded from the waitlist on May 14, 2021 at 8:00AM CT. If you are interested in a Special COLA for June, please ensure your request is on file prior to the deadline.
Reminders and Quick Links
May – Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
May – Mental Health Awareness Month
May 9 – Mother’s Day
May 13/14 – AFA Board of Directors Meeting
May 17 – Tax Day
May 31 – Memorial Day